Elly Hong

Friday Reads: January 2022

Curated by ELLY HONG

This round of Friday Reads features recommendations from two of our online contributors: Jane McCafferty, author of “These Winters in Pittsburgh are Making Us Strong,” and Emma Ferguson, translator of poetry by Esther Ramón. The memoirs they recommend provide a window into the lives of two dynamic and extraordinary women.

Recommendations: I AM I AM I AM: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O’Farrell and What You Have Heard Is True by Carolyn Forché

Friday Reads: January 2022
Read more...

How to Write on a Ledge: An Interview with John Murillo

NATHAN MCCLAIN interviews JOHN MURILLO

 

Headshot of John Murillo, a middle aged Black and Hispanic man with a long beard

 

In this interview, Nathan McClain’s mode of inquiry evokes substantial and insightful responses from John Murillo. The ultimate craftsman, Murillo understands the value of writing from a space, from a feeling, instead of toward a subject. In other words, he does not make an event of writing a poem. His practice is uncorrupted by a chase for validation. Instead, we understand the time and dedication necessary to achieve Murillo’s exquisite lyricism and masterful use of form.

John Murillo’s most recent book, Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry, won the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and was a finalist for the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry and the NAACP Image Award. He is an assistant professor of English and director of the creative writing program at Wesleyan University.

How to Write on a Ledge: An Interview with John Murillo
Read more...

What the Midwest Was Like

By JENNIFER S. CHENG

Small plants grow outside the window of a house. The window frame is white, with paint that is peeling slightly.

 

Iowa City, Iowa

 

For months I cared for my plant: watered it, brought in light, cleaned its jar. I noted with pleasure when new leaves began to sprout. The capillary green that unfolded overnight. I watched its roots mingle and spread, tracing against the glass. Don’t forget to watch over the plant. But when I returned from four days away, half of the leaves had yellowed. One fell off at my touch. I watched as a fifth leaf began also to lose its pigment.

What the Midwest Was Like
Read more...

Friday Reads: November 2021

Curated by ELLY HONG

 

This month’s round of Friday Reads features recommendations that span place and time: from interwar Greece to eighteenth-century London to a small-holding in present day Ireland. Read on to see what our Issue 22 contributors have been enjoying.

Recommendations: The Third Wedding by Costas Taktsis, The Question of Bruno by Aleksandar Hemon, Please by Christopher Meredith, Trivia: Or the Art of Walking the Streets of London by John Gay, and Savage Gods by Paul Kingsnorth

Friday Reads: November 2021
Read more...

Two Poems by John Harlan Underhill

By JOHN HARLAN UNDERHILL

Spider web with light shining through it

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Following his 60th class reunion at Amherst College in 2017, Harlan Underhill scripted a virtual diary in poetry, communicating over 200 entries to several fortunate classmates. The poems illuminate both immediate and past experiences and observations, memories both cherished and painful. These two poems are drawn from that collection.

Two Poems by John Harlan Underhill
Read more...

Who Writes the Arabian Gulf?

By NOOR NAGA

 

I have dreamt of this Arabian Gulf Portfolio ever since I was a teenager, writing about snow and squirrels and picket fences—despite living in Dubai where I had more experience with temperatures of 40+ degrees, karak chai, compounds… Because English was my first language, the fiction that was available and accessible to me at the time was perpetually happening elsewhere. My high school education focused on the British and American canons, meaning that we had no exposure to global Anglophone literature, let alone any works set in the United Arab Emirates. The bookshops sold mainly self-help and cookbooks in the 2000s. The public libraries were few, poorly stocked, and dominated by Arabic literature that was also generally quite dated. Consequently, for most of my teenage years, my imagination was furnished by foreign clutter and peopled by strangers I had no knowledge of first-hand. There was the book-world and there was the real-world, and I didn’t even appreciate how separate they were in my mind until I began to write about rivers and forests and realized there were none around me. The mimetic dimension of literature had been severed entirely.

Who Writes the Arabian Gulf?
Read more...

Fugues, Evidence, and Arguments: A Poet Finds His Way

PAUL YOON interviews RALPH SNEEDEN

 

Headshot of Ralph Sneeden

In this interview, Ralph Sneeden traces his journey as a poet and essayist, avoiding the destructiveness of being pigeonholed, the inherent politicality of landscapes, and drawing from a pool of resources and poetic techniques to achieve a voice that is at once reflective, visceral, meditative, exploratory, and willing to uncover the veil of comfort and human complexity in an attempt to “testify, to lay bare the quirks, ironies and nuances of history in a way that suggests something new or different about them.”


Fugues, Evidence, and Arguments: A Poet Finds His Way
Read more...